Prague is known for its art, music, and bohemian culture. Coffee shops line the streets, the Charles Bridge and the castle dominate the skyline, and the colourful history of the city attract visitors year round. Students flock the cafes while lovers stroll the streets of the Old Town.
My two young boys don't really care about any of that. They want to know what Prague has for them to do, while my husband and I want to make sure that we also see the highlights the city has to offer. Fortunately, there is much common ground. Prague is a great place for families, with several attraction that appeal to everyone. Here are a few of the places we have on our list to see with our children.
Family Friendly Prague
1- Mirror Maze (Zrcadlové bludiště Petřín)
The mirror maze is located in what appears to be a small castle, and is perfect for children. The interior holds several hallways, including one with fun mirrors that distort your body in funny ways, and another maze of mirrors that leads to a diorama of the Battle of Prague. A great way to mix some history with fun.
In addition, the Mirror Maze is located on Petřín hill, which can be reached by taking a funicular to the top, which is always fun. The views over the city are great from the top of the hill, and the Eiffel Tower-inspired lookout tower is also there, with its 299 steps to the top, to provide a view over all of Bohemia.
2- Prague Zoo
Technically the zoo is located outside of the city, but it is just a short distance away and is considered one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. It has themed areas such as the Indonesian Jungle and Elephant Valley. I'm not a fan of training seals to perform tricks, so we won't be watching the training sessions, but the kids would be interested in watching the feedings. A great way to spend a day doing something just for the kids.
The zoo contains 10km of walking paths, as well as a Children's Zoo where kids can feed and pet the animals, a playground, a dinosaur trail, and an observation tower. There are also various programs and workshops available. The best part? Getting there. The zoo can be reached by a short boat ride down the river.
3- Historic Tram Line 91
My kids have never met a tram they didn't like, and we make a point of riding them whenever we can. This particular line fulfills their desire to ride a tram with my desire to see some sights. It rides through the city and up to the castle, providing excellent views and photo opportunities. The final stop is the Transportation Museum, so if your kids are really into transportation, you can spend some time exploring the museum.
4- The National Theatre
Who says that dramatic productions and opera are only for adults? The National Theatre puts on shows specifically geared to children, introducing them to art and music in a way that attracts their interest. Ballet, plays, and even operas are performed for family viewing, and the offerings change with the seasons. Estate Theatre and the puppet theaters also offer shows for children and families.
5- Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle
The Prague castle is one of the largest castles in the world, with so many things to see and do it's impossible to cover it all in one day. Churches, towers, gardens, museums, and more could keep a visitor occupied for days. Children aren't the most patient bunch, but any castle should be able to inspire the imagination of children and teens.
I recommend choosing one or two highlights, and then checking out the spectacular view over the city. As a bonus, be sure to catch the changing of the guard that takes place every hour on the hour from 7am-8pm in summer and 7am-6pm in winter. For the changing with the most pomp, catch the noon changing of the guard.
6- Relax at one of the many Parks and Playgrounds
Prague is a very family friendly city, and there are conveniently located parks and playgrounds close to major attractions. Spend some time at the sight you want to see, and then let the kids blow off some steam at a playground. The Charles Bridge Park (or Kampa Children's Playground) is located right next to the famous Charles Bridge and has a variety of children's activities. For something a bit more unique, try the Český lvíček and children‘s playground, where there is a large electric train in the style of a steam train, as well as a modern playground. On rainy days, there are many indoor playgrounds where kids can let loose, including the Beckiland, an indoor amusement park with go-carts, caves, and trampolines, located in the Avion Shopping Park Zličín.
7- Take a Train Ride along a Scenic City Route
Prague Semmering provides scenic train trips around the capital city of Prague. Trains depart from Smíchov station to Jinonice station and then back again. My kids love trains, so the train itself is the attraction for them. However, it's also a great way to see the city without having to do it all on foot, which can be great with young children in tow. It's also a good idea for days when the weather isn't great, allowing you to see the city from the comfort of the train, protected from the elements.
8- Visit a Child-Friendly Museum
Prague has hundreds of museums organized around different themes, and a number of them appeal specifically to children of different ages. The Toy Museum, Dolls Museum, and Private Lego Museum would probably interest younger children, but the Chocolate Museum is sure to be a crowd pleaser for children of all ages. Older kids and teens might appreciate the Prague Ghosts and Legends Museum or the Wax Museum. Even the Prague City Museum has exhibits dedicated to children, as well as play areas and a creative workshop. Don't forget the Dinopark, Planetarium, or Observatory. Prague is one city where children and teens need never be bored.
The City of Prague's tourism website is a fantastic resource, and even has a downloadable brochure of things to do in Prague with children, including museums, parks, cafes, and restaurants, and a map showing the location of each. A useful and FREE resource.